[Sca-cooks] Khlii

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 13 17:23:28 PDT 2008

I'm really not sure what the ick factor was. All the traditional 
recipes for khlii i've seen are pretty straightforward and much as 
Adamantius describes, being rather like some French confits of meat. 
Perhaps the host or his research crew found one particularly odd 
version to broadcast.

If he wanted weird Moroccan food, there's always smen, which is 
herbed and aged butter. One tradition says that it is prepared at the 
birth of a girl and dug up for her wedding...
Here' a traditional 20th C. Sephardic Jewish recipe (based on some 
idiosyncrasies i've edited (such as "piled" garlic", based on the 
French "pilee"), the author appear to be a French speaker)

10 kg meat (beef or lamb)

Marinade One
Enough oil to cover the meat

Marinade Two
Add the following to Marinade 1:
350 gr coriander seeds
75 gr cumin
125 gr crushed garlic
2 tablespoons vinegar

For the cooking:
3 liters water
4 liters oil
2 kg meat fat
2 heads of garlic, peeled
laurel leaves

Cut the meat into strips 4 cm wide.

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large enough container.
Marinate the meat for 24 hr.
Stir and let it remain in marinade for another 12 hr.
Hang on laundry wires (or in a place with maximum sun exposure) and 
let it dry for 4 days.

Cut the fat into little pieces.
Boil the cooking water and add 4 liters of oil, the meat fat, the 
pepper, laurel leaves, and garlic.
Let it cook for around two hours, or until all the water has 
evaporated. The meat should be dipping into its oil.

To preserve, put the meat into ceramic pots or large glass jars, and 
cover it with all its fat. It will preserve for months.


Here's a 20th C. Moroccan recipe, which i've translated from French 
into English


Once a year, in summer, in Fez, the parents of the family would buy a 
camel, would make it to enter into the house, putting before it a 
female camel to better attract it, would invite all the family to 
assist in the preparation of the khlii, a provision ideal for winter. 
A butcher and his assistants would head to the house and would wait 
until the animal fell asleep to slit its throat, butcher it, and to 
cut its meat which they would give to the women reunited in the 
kitchen to marinate it in the immense cooking pots full of many 
spices before cooking it on a charcoal fire all night and part of the 
next day.

First Step

1 kg beef or mutton
Coarse salt
3 Tb ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tb ground coriander seeds
20 cl olive  oil
1 Tb vinegar

Mix the marinade and let stand one day.
Cut the meat into long thing slices. Rub with the coarse salt and 
chill for 24 hours.
Rub off the excess of salt with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Cover each slice with marinade. Chill for 24 hours.
Let dry for at least a week of sunshine : in Morocco the slices of 
meat are hung on the laundry wire and withdrawn when evening comes.

Second Step

2 liters water
250 g mutton fat

Cut the meat into equal sized pieces.
Put them into a put cooking pot, cover with water and add the fat.
Let simmer on a low fire until all the water evaporates.
Remove the meat, place it into a ceramic pot and cover it with some of the fat.


Here's a way khlii is served and eaten in Morocco:

Khlii with Eggs

200 g khlii
4 eggs
1 Tb of fat from the khlii
1 Tb olive oil
3 large tomatoes, peeled and cut in pieces
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 spoonful shredded parsley
1/2 spoonful shredded cilantro

Simmer the tomatoes in a mix of the oil and fat for 30 minutes.
Add pepper. Add parsley and cilantro as well as the meat.
Continue to cook on a low fire for another 1/2 hour.
Break the eggs over the meat and tomatoes and cook until the whites are set.


A recent post to Chowhound says:
>"Petals" of camel fat are also on display-this is much valued for 
>medicinal purposes as the above poster discussed, but used to make 
>the wonderful Moroccan specialty called khlii (also sp khelea, 
>khlea) which is a confit of cured (lamb, cow or camel) meat.


Here's a comment posted to YouTube, apparently regarding that very show:

(i've corrected the spelling, but not changed the contents)
Bizarre Foods: Mystery Meat in Morocco
>Hey Andrew, You're quite the actor. I guess you did not find any 
>bizarre food in Morocco so you had to come up with something. Khlii 
>is simply beef fried in fat and stored in a jar. Simple preservation 
>technique dating back to the time when there were no fridges. Beef 
>jerky tastes stronger and is definitely more disgusting. I liked 
>your show up until I saw your acting and made up reaction to lkhlii.


I somehow suspect that "Mister Bizarre Food", Andrew Zimmern, either 
misrepresented the dish or presented an atypical variation. The vast 
majority of Khlii is much like a French confit of meat (i.e., cooked 
meat stored covered in fat to preserve it) and not "fermented" at 
all, just marinated, dried, fried, and stored in fat.

I gotta say, in looking over some of the topics of his shows, that 
much of what he eats is not at all that bizarre, but only appears 
that way to middle Americans who think eating at a fast food or chain 
restaurant (like, gag, Applebee's) is fine dining. Some is clearly 
being chosen especially for "ick factor". I've travelled quite a bit 
and eaten an awful lot of the things on his list and they were not at 
all bizarre, being quite common in their own cultures, such as 
durian, frog, squirrel, etc. (i did pass on dog in Indonesia because 
i knew what they ate there, and not for any sentimental reasons).

Same goes for what's-'is-name Spencer in his book "The Year of Eating 
Dangerously". He thought eating huitlacoche, a type of lavender-grey 
colored fungus that grows on corn, was weird and dangerous. Heck, i 
get it at a Mexico City style restaurant not far from my home in the 
SF Bay area.

I confess that the only tarantula i've ever eaten was a grape 
flavored "gummy/jelly" one from the Jelly Belly factory.

Nothing like fruit bat stuffed into a bamboo tube and buried for 
months that an anthropology professor of mine who had studied an 
indigenous group of migrating forest dwellers in Malaysia told us 
about. When it was retrieved it had decomposed into a paste and there 
were insect larvae in it, which added to the texture, flavor, and 
high protein content.

Personally, i find most pre-prepared packaged foods to be bizarre.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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